Hi! I am assuming that you are asking about Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) through our government’s Social Security Administration rather than private pay/employer short term or long term disability.
The SSDI definition of disability says that you “must not be able to engage in any substantial gainful activity because of a medically-determinable physical or mental impairment(s) that is expected to result in death, or that has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months. So even if a person meets the definition of the medically-determinable impairment, they may not meet the definition of not being any to engage in ANY work. SSDI is not awarded just because you are unable to do your regular job; they look to see if you are able to work at ANY job, even only a part time one that pays far less than what you used to make. (This definition is different than that for private pay/employer disability where, depending on the type of policy, you may get disability if you can’t do your main job). So if you are able to work at all, it is probably going to be unlikely that you will be awarded those SSDI payments. Also, you don’t get SSDI just because you can’t find a job. The cruel fact is that if you are ill or disabled it is even harder to find a job. So you may be able to do some types of limited work, which prevents you from getting SSDI, but no one may want to hire you, which means you have no money to live on. You are entitled to have one or more appeals to SSDI when you request disability and can use a lawyer, but each appeal will add months on to your wait when you are not getting any money.
The rules for SSDI are very strict, and many people who are very ill and incapacitated are not approved to receive it. It takes at least 2 months after you apply for SSDI until you hear if you will be approved to receive it and then your first payment doesn’t begin until 6 months after you receive approval (more info here: https://www.ssa.gov/planners/disability/dapproval.html). You can create a my ssa account (https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/) to see how much you would receive per month if you were to be approved for disability.
Thank you for writing, and please write back with more details if we can help more.
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